Want a fresh, healthy start for a sustainable fitness routine?
After putting on COVID kilos, Christmas kilos, and considering returning to the workplace, you might be thinking about joining a gym or getting your body back in shape by exercising at home or outdoors.
Let’s face it, summer is here and we want to get in shape – as quickly as possible!
There are a few things to think about that will help you decide how you want to regain or maintain your fitness, whether it’s an exercise for pain relief, preventing pain, staying healthy, or getting your energy back. Making the right decision will ensure you keep your fitness program going throughout the year.
And I call these the Four Cs.
The first is COMPANIONSHIP.
People often overlook the importance of the environment when considering a change in routine.
Are you comfortable exercising with other people around?
Sometimes you just want to get hot and sweaty on your own, but other times it’s really motivating to be with people.
If you hate to be seen huffing and puffing, or having someone tell you what to do, you might prefer to exercise alone. That way you won’t be caught red-faced, dripping with sweat or scowling at someone’s well-intentioned commands.
Maybe you need the motivation but want some privacy.
A personal trainer might be the best solution here. There’s only one person who has to help motivate you to keep fit. You won’t feel self-conscious about how you look or how you perform your exercises.
And you can also get individual feedback.
But if you prefer being with other people but don’t like being watched, consider group outdoor activities.
Perhaps you want to meet more people, but find yourself lost for words.
Maybe you don’t want to feel pressured and prefer far less structured ways to connect.
The gym can be a great way to interact with others. You’re not obliged to chat, support is available for your fitness programmphysioe, competition can drive you forward and there’s a reason to be there other than only being around to get to know people .
The next C is for CLOCK.
Consider carefully whether maintaining your fitness at a fixed venue can actually fit into your schedule.
Write out a list of the essential tasks or activities you need to do in your week, and the duration of each, including preparation and travel time.
Note which items have a fixed timeslot. Add these to a timetable or calendar.
Then add in the non-negotiable events with more flexible availability into the calendar and times that work for you and other relevant parties. Remember that the schedule has to suit your energy levels and your personal timetable and those who are involved in the activities with you.
Now you have an overview of the timeslots available for your exercise plan.
If you don’t have at least a whole hour available, then going to a gym probably won’t be a feasible option. That is, unless the gym is close by and the timeslot is at either end of your day so you have time to shower or get ready for your day/evening.
But if you do have more than an hour available, hone in on important detail about the gyms you’d consider joining.
How long will it take you to get there?
Add on another 20-30 minutes for preparation and then 30 minutes to finish off, shower and get ready for your next activity.
You can then work out how much time is realistically available for exercising. Will you be satisfied with your workout if you exercise for any less than this amount of time?
If not, you might want to think about other alternatives for exercising, whether with your friends or by yourself at home.
For example, you might find someone to come to your place or meet somewhere else to to exercise.
Then you might think about the COST.
Often people think cost is the first consideration for a gym membership. But if you are time-poor, the financial cost is probably secondary.
And don’t just think about the cost of the membership or the program.
The cost of attending a gym may also require you to open your wallet.
Have a think about how you’ll feel about being seen in your current exercise outfits.
If you feel like, “Ooh, I think I’ll need a new pair of shoes, shorts,the etc…” then you’ll need to take this expense into account.
Some classes, such as boxing, require you to buy gloves to attend the classes.
It might not sound like much, but if you need a few things or if you need to make frequent purchases, it all adds up.
If you’re confident that a gym membership is for you, then consider what level or sort of gym would suit.
Do you prefer having a your routine, or at least a structure to your exercise program? Or do you enjoy variety or spontaneity?
Classes are often more suited to those who enjoy routine and structure.
Are you exercising to give your brain a rest? Having someone guiding you or give you instructions means you don’t have to think. So class instructors or personal trainers giving advice every step of the way might be your best options.
If you prefer to work independently, then weights or machine-laden gyms will have equipment available for you to pick and choose from.
Once you’ve settled on the style of exercise sessions that would work for you, decide if you’d need full membership to access this kind of program or if you’d be happy with a specific level of membership. Maybe just classes or independent workouts in the weights and/or cardio area would be sufficient. Then it’s worth considering what level of membership you can afford.
CULTURE can be a key sticking point to a sustainable exercise regime.
If you’ve decided on a gym or a personal trainer, think about the culture in the gyms that are available to you.
What do you see?
Are you comfortable with the way people look and dress as they do their workouts?
And it’s not just what you see, but also what you hear.
Do you like the music that they play? Do you like the way people talk to each other in the gym?
How does it make you feel? Are you motivated by this environment?
Or do you sense there’s pressure for people to dress or act a certain way when they’re exercising? Would that make you feel self-conscious?
Of course, when you visit a gym it’s only a taster, but it will give you a bit of insight.
Just remember – the best kind of exercise for you is the one you’re actually going to do.
Something that you can keep doing so that it becomes part of your life.
Not just something you do for a snippet of time.
Exercise gives you so much energy and vitality when it’s something you really enjoy.
So consider what sort of exercises suit your personality and your lifestyle.
Let me know what you think in the comments.